No surprises for UL on Signing Day, but kicker coming

Tim Buckley
Lafayette Daily Advertiser

One name — that of its new kicker — is known but has not yet been disclosed.

In due time.  

Without that, UL had only three additions to its 2020 class to announce on National Signing Day, all as expected.

The three: defensive linemen Mason Narcisse and Jordan Lawson and receiver Reginald Johnson.

“We’ve been chasing Mason for a long time,” Ragin' Cajuns head coach Billy Napier said of Narcisse, who also had been committed to Louisiana Tech and Tulane before signing with the first team that offered him, UL.

More:Recruiting was no fun for UL commit Narcisse

Related:UL gets pledge from ex-Tulane, Louisiana Tech commit

UL coach Billy Napier discusses his 2020 signing class Wednesday.

Narcisse actually signed with UL on the third and final day of the NCAA’s early signing period in December, but the Cajuns did not disclose acquisition of the St. Charles Catholic High product until Wednesday because — according to Napier — “the kid wanted us to announce today.”

“He’s a big, explosive player,” Napier said,

“We had a chance to watch him live at the LSU (Junior Day) camp; was very impressed with him that day. He’s a bright kid that comes from a tremendous family.

“He’s a guy that I think can grow into a really good player,” the Cajuns coach added. “He’s 6-(foot)-2½. He weighed 310 the other day when he came here, but that ain’t necessarily a good thing.”

Lawson, from Brandon High in Mississippi, was not as heavily recruited as Narcisse.

But he is a big get, literally.

Related:Lawson gives UL big boost before National Signing Day

“He’s a guy that maybe went under the radar,” Napier said, “and he grew and gained weight as a senior.

“If you go pull his film, you’d be impressed with what you see. He’s 6-3, 270. A lot of tall, long people in that house, in that family.

“And he’s young in the face,” Napier added. “I think he’s a guy who’s still growing up. … Another kid that’s a great student and comes from a great family.”

Asked if Narcisse could help right away and if Lawson was more of a developmental project, Napier said, “No, I think they’re all developmental projects.”

“I think every one of them is far from being ready to play,” he said of all of UL’s 2020 signees, “and there’s a lot of work and a lot of teaching to be done, a lot of growing up to do."

“A lot of it is gonna do with what these guys do from today until the day they show up here. You know, they show up in great condition — or they sit on the couch all spring. Do they listen to the voiceovers their coach sends them, or do they get senioritis and get lazy and get comfortable?”

Related:Get to know the Cajuns' signees

Showing up right away for UL will be Johnson, who according to Napier is expected to enroll in classes “in the next couple days” and take part in spring practice starting next month.

The heavily recruited receiver from Southern Lab School in Baton Rouge was committed to Houston until mid-December, but he did not sign with the Cougars during the early period.

“We’ve had a relationship with Tonk — that’s his nickname — throughout the entire process,” Napier said of Johnson, who was originally offered by UL in May 2018. “He was one of the first players we offered in this cycle of players.

“He had lots of activity throughout the entire process, and we really stayed in touch with him throughout. … Coach Leger (Tim Leger, UL’s recruiting coordinator and receivers coach) did a really good job.”

According to 247Sports.com rankings, the 6-foot Johnson is the highest-rated Class of 2020 Cajun high school signee from Louisiana at No. 40 in the state.

“I think he can help our team and I think we can help him,” Napier said. “A great fit. … The guys got length, he’s got speed.”

Related:Cajuns catch pledge from ex-Houston commit Johnson

More:UL hits its mark with long corners, athletic receivers

Napier said three other Class of 2020 additions besides Johnson either already are in school or will be soon, and will take part in spring drills: Alabama running back Andray Pope, Texas cornerback Dabari Hawkins and Texas tight end Christian Sabatini.

The Cajuns, meanwhile, did not announce the signing of a kicker either in December or on Wednesday.

But UL, which graduated senior starter Stevie Artigue, is expected to have at least two new ones, including one on scholarship, before its 2020 season opener on Sept. 5 against McNeese.

“We added a really good preferred walk-on,” Napier said, “and we added a really good scholarship player today. Can’t talk about him, though.”

Napier did not say why he could not talk about the scholarship kicker.

The walk-on, according to his tweet Wednesday, is Pope John Paul II High product Logan Klotz.

Napier said two other kickers — Kenneth Almendares, who handled kickoffs in 2019, and walk-on freshman Grant Paulette, who was redshirted — remain on the roster and will take part in spring practice.


Clinton Anokwuru, a defensive end from the Houston area, had the Cajuns in his final top five but wound up signing with Kansas on Wednesday. Anokwuru also recently visited Washington State. … It appears DeShawn Hanika, the tight end from Butler (Kansas) Community College who visited UL last weekend, did not sign with anyone Wednesday. … Cody Myers, a reserve juco-transfer long snapper for the Ragin’ Cajuns in 2019, announced Wednesday that he is returning to the state where he went to high school and will play next season for NCAA Division II-member Mississippi College.

More:The Cajuns didn't sign a quarterback now, but may later